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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new fella is around 10 weeks old now and showing me some signs of aggression that has got me a bit worried. Perhaps this is typical puppy/breed behavior and some of you can give me ideas to set me at ease. This dogs hunting stock is infallable, however, his disposition is from word of mouth only. The short of it is that he seems to be possesive of his toys--especially after a retrieve. In terms of B.O., he is at sit. After a few minutes of working on sit I end it with alittle playful retrieving. Upon return, when I go to grab the retrieved item, he usually emits a growl--usually just little puppy growling. At times, with myself and others, even in a non-retrieval/training situation, this growl has become more than just puppy stuff. Several times it has been a downright snarl. Now puppy growling for play I will put up with and dismiss, but teeth showing snarling is followed by a swat across the nose. After this he is submissive. Also, when playing with my father-in-law's Golden, when its time to go I have to pick him up. Soon as my hand is at his breast he is growling like he is pissed. Am I over-thinking this and buying into breed reputation? Do I have a legitimate concern? Your input is appreciated.
 

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I'd say you have an tough guy on your hands. There is kind of a fine line, in my experience, between keeping the good aggression and not letting the dog dictate the terms of the relationship. In my experience with the breed, over the last 30+ years or so, I've had one dog like the pup you describe and he turned out to be one of my best dogs. I think that you just have to be consistant and firm and very regimented with a dog like that. Hope it works out
 

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I had a Drahthaar breeder recommend the New Skete Monks books The Art of Raising a Puppy and How to be your Dog's Best Friend.

I also recommend Butch Goodwin's Retrievers...From the Inside, Out.

I've had Chessies for thirty yrars and these three sources taught me a lot about training dogs and dominance issues.
 

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Welcome to owning a chessie....

All you really need to do is teach him who is the boss. Right now he thinks he is at the head of the pack. I don't think you can ever really make a chessie think that you own him, not vise versa. With repitition and correction they cooperate though. Neat dogs, little extra work...

Mike
 

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At ten weeks, I'd say he's a little young to be using a whole lot of force on him. The swat across the nose sounds good, but don't give up on him. He's testing you to see what he can get away with, so don't let him get away with anything. One way of showing dominance over a dog is to put him on his back on the ground and hold him there until he's submissive and not growling. This would not be to forceful for a young dog either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for the toughts guys--keep them comin.
Brian--Been using the "on the back method" as well. The results are hit or miss depending on his mood. He and I seem to be in a battle of wills at this point. Little does he know how much money I've invested in him and his sperm, but he will find out the extent of my will soon enough. He is attatched to my wife whole heartedly and could seemingly care less about my comings and goings. This is pretty disconcerting to me because I want to be the one his tail wags for. I'm sure that in time he will come around. I'm nowhere near giving up--its just a matter of focus and determination. I've got a 6 and 2 year old son and daughter and my concern is that if a 180 pound man is having issues with dominance, then where are my kids going to rank in the pecking order? Will post further as events warrant.
 

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Just don't let your frustration and determination get to carried away. Don't walk away from a situation when he is trying to be dominanat, but by all means do walk away if you get overly frustrated. This is the reason pro trainers are so successful. They have no emotion in training the dog. They didn't invest any money, they don't live with the dog, all they want is to get the dog to do what you payed them to do. Try to keep this in mind when training. Just don't let emotions get carried away. Short fifteen minute sessions 3 times a day are far better than one hour session a day. Good Luck.
 

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I have a female chessie that believe it or not displayed the same dominant behavior traits as your male in her early puppy stages. I just never gave in when she tried to be the boss. A quick swat from a leash handle or an open handed pop to the bottom jaw would usually put her in her place. Also, occassionally tried the put her on her back thing, it works if you have the patience to let a puppy fight out their energy, but that can sometimes take a while as I learned. Mine finally grew out of her dominance issue and has the makings to be the best retriever I have ever owned. As far as kids are concerned, she loves them and will play with them all day but still shows her dominance over them by just ignoring any commands they may give, such as sit, release, etc., but no disturbing aggression issues. I hope things work out as well for your male.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Things have been progressing nicely since my last post. His growling at me or the family has deminished considerably. He seems to be conforming to "the new rules." His agression, however, has been re-directed to other dogs--namely my father-in-laws. And a Vezsla bitch.

Tonight I took him to a buddies Chessie bitch(85 lbs worth) to see if he would posture the same. It didn't take but one swipe of her paw to put him in his place. He was a different dog after that. Maybe he just needed a good arse-kickin to check the ego.

Tonight I also ordered a DVD geared especially to Chessies by a guy with a reputation that proceeds him. Go to www.goldplatedgundogs.com to check it out. Will post further comments about video and further training and "breaking in" processes. Later.
 

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Since my chessie was brought home at food time I would put my hands in his food, take his food away making sure he would not growl. If he's growling while retrieving and likes retrieving stop playing as soon as he growls. He'll learn that if he wants to play he'll behave.
 
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